WRITER & DIRECTOR DARCIA PARADA is an extraordinary combination of a visionary storyteller and a natural leader. In her native Canada, she is an award winning director of live theatre whose unique approach combines cutting-edge directorial decisions, and innovative interpretations of classic works.

Her eclectic and popular work has been acclaimed by the Canadian press. The prestigious Globe and Mail recently named her a CATALYST ‘ONE OF CANADA’S TOP 10 ARTISTS IN ART & DESIGN.’ In 2014 she was honored with the TELUS COURAGE TO INNOVATE THE ARTS AWARD.

Darcia is the Founding and Artistic Director of Mercury Opera — a company that performs all over Canada, and in New York City in site-specific locations to sell out and standing room only crowds. Audiences describe Parada’s shows as an immersive experience where you feel part of the action. “It’s like being on a film set.” As director her responsibilities ranged from budgeting and scheduling to casting, crewing and promotion.

A darling of the Canadian media, she has been the recipient of dozens of articles and profiles: print, television and Internet. She has also received press from American outlets, including several in New York. ABC-TV News, Lifetime Live, CBC Television, ABC, City TV, Global TV, CTV, OMNI Television, and BRIC ARTS MEDIA (Brooklyn television) NY DAILY NEWS, CRAINS,L MAGAZINE and more.

As a performer she has graced many stages throughout Europe and North America, and her vocal talents can be heard on the soundtracks of numerous film scores.

The Internationally renowned Baryshnikov Arts Center granted her a residency. Her competition included hundreds of artists from around the world. It was a great honour and a confirmation of her gifts as a storyteller, an artist and a director.

Like many who preceded her, including Orson Welles and Mike Nichols, the transition from stage to film has been a natural one.

PRODUCER JESSE SZYMANSKI 18-year career has spanned to encompass Producing, Hosting, Writing and Directing. Most recently, she worked as a Co-Executive Producer on the fifth season of the award-winning dramatic television series Blackstone. She is the President and Executive Producer of Modern Muse Media Ltd. In 2007, Jesse joined Prairie Dog Film + Television and worked on a multitude of series including producing and directing My Green House (lifestyle), producing three seasons of Mixed Blessings (Comedy), and co-executive producing five seasons of the acclaimed Blackstone (Drama), all of which have been major contributions to building Prairie Dog Film +Television. Shortly after beginning her producing career in independent film and television at The Idea Factory, Jesse starting working on the broadcast side in the Creative Services department at City TV and Access Television, launching Speakers Corner Alberta, a half-hour weekly television series, and producing several educational and commercial contracts. Simultaneously, she became an Entertainment Reporter for The City Show on City TV. Jesse is Vice-President of the board of directors for WIFTA, is a member of AMPIA, the ACCT and

CMPA. She volunteers her time to speak on various industry panels and is an active trainer and mentor for young media professionals. Jesse was featured in Avenue Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40”, and was twice nominated for the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts Award for Excellence in Artistic Management.

PRODUCER DOUG STEEDEN has been involved in the film and television industries for over 25 years. As both a producer and production manager he simultaneously sees both the smallest detail and the “big picture.” His experience in development, budgeting, logistics and diplomacy combined with his experience in licensing has made him an indispensable part of many Canadian and American productions. His numerous credits include ABC Family/Disney (Holiday in Handcuffs), Granada America (Santa Baby, 12 Days of Christmas Eve), Craig Anderson Productions (For the Love of a Child), Hallmark Channel (Dear Prudence), CBC (Heartland Pilot, Wild Roses Pilot), and Accent Entertainment (The Walter Gretzky Story).

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY JOHN SPOONER, CSC is the recipient of Canada’s prestigious AMPIA Cinematography

Award, and a nominee for six others. His cinematography career began with the popular ‘SCTV’ series, for which he shot all the film segments. ‘SCTV’ starred many actors whose careers have flourished: Harold Ramis, Catherine O’Hara, John Candy, Martin Short, etc.

His recent work includes a number of TV series, including NBC’s primetime series ‘FEAR ITSELF,’ 26 episodes of the live-action/animation TV Series ‘ANASH’ and several mini-series, including Hallmark Entertainment’s ‘MERLIN’S APPRENTICE,’ and ‘THE RAY BRADBURY THEATRE’ TV series. John’s feature films include ‘THE WAR REPORTER,’  ‘THE PHARMACIST,’ ‘CHRISTMAS IN WONDERLAND’ and ‘ONCE IN A BLUE MOON.’

In addition to the aforementioned AMPIA awards, his numerous awards include the Leo Award: ‘Best Cinematography / Feature Length Drama,’ and an Emmy Award.

MYRON HYRAK has been a Production Designer and Art Director for film and television for 15 years. He has done projects for Paramount, Disney, CBC, NBC, Lifetime, as well as independent producers.